Monday, 21 May 2018

Death Is Not Enough Contest

I have a contest for you guys! And it's not YA. I know! But I want to try new things with my reading and, as you guys know, I like dipping in and out of crime and this author keeps catching my eye so, as soon as I saw this on BookBridgr, I knew it was time!

Death Is Not Enough is the sixth book in the Baltimore series (but I've been told you can read these as standalones) and this sounds like a neck-breaker of a read!

Defence attorney Thomas Thorne knows violence all his life. He has overcome these with determination and is ready to left his guard down and finally let the woman he always admire from afar into his life.

But his world is torn apart when he is four in his own bed with a lifeless body of a stranger lying next to him, her blood all over his hands. But his friend, Gwyn Weaver, knows Thorne could never commit such a terrible crime. So she and his friends rally round to clear his name, but someone has a deadly vendetta and they're not going to stop till they've destroy Thorne...

This sounds dark and Mctwisty as heck. Perfect for me! I can't wait to find time to dive into this novel. But, to wet my appetite, the lovely people at Headline are allowing me to do a small contest to give away a copy of Death Is Not Enough.

Ok, boring stuff now. I have only one copy to give away and this contest is a UK and Ireland only contest. This contest will close at 3pm this coming Sunday (Sunday 27th May 2018). The winner will be chosen at random via random.org. I will tweet and email the winner to get their address so the publisher can send the winner their copy of Death Is Not Enough.

If you're going to enter, I wish you good luck and hope that the odds are in your favour!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Audiobook Review - Uprooted

I've been aware of this book for a while, but it took me a while before I went "Ok, I want to listen to this" I'm not sure why I decided to listen to the audiobook version over reading the book, but I thought this might be a good way to get into this as, after listening to all Deborah Harkness's All Souls trilogy, I feel that audiobooking adult fantasy is the way to go...

Agnieszka loves her valley. She loves her beautiful friend, Kasia, and she's bracing herself, for it's nearly time for the Choosing. The Choosing, where the Dragon comes and takes a girl to his tower for ten years.  It's his exchange for keeping the Wood and it's corruption. And everyone in the village knows that it's Kasia who the Dragon is going to choose - she's beautiful, clever, ready to go and have an adventure.

But when he comes to the village, it's not Kasia he chooses... it's Agnieszka.

On the surface, this book sounds like it's a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast (which is my jam!), but set within a Polish or Russian fairytale, which sounds intriguing or I should read more outside UK/USA versions. But this story... For me, it's very much a story of two halves. The first half wasn't to my taste while the second half was more up my street. And I know why, and I will explain a little further down.

No, let's get into that now.

This story's pacing was the biggest problem I have. I have read and listened and watched other people's reactions to this book, and am surprised over the fact they all say the pacing was relentless. Because I don't feel that way. The first half of this audiobook was, to me, slow and a bit of a slog to go through. I get why as this half to place over a long period of times - months, maybe years. And I get why - we need world building in place, we need to understand the basic of magic (it's vague, and it works for this fairy-tale feel that this story has), events happen which are solved a chapter or two later, and we need to get understand Agnieszka's skin. But it dragged for me - I don't mind if a story is set over a long period of time, but I need something to keep me interested. I need something to keep pulling me back, and there were several points when I did consider quitting this audiobook. Around the halfway point, something happened and, though I still struggled, I liked the direction the story began to take and the promise of "This is getting better" kept me coming back. Plus, the second half of the book, took place over a much shorter time frame - a fortnight, maybe a month? - and I just prefer a faster pace.

Another problem I had was the romance. This book has romance in it, but it's more a background thing. But, I didn't see it. I kept questioning the romance. I wondered "why?" over it. Why does Agnieszka like the Dragon? When it did start for both of them? Is it because of their magic? Is it because of Stockholm Syndrome? Are we meant to like the Dragon, because he's a mean, cruel, jack***? Are we being led down the garden path with Angieszka and the Dragon, when the romance is actually Angieszka and Kasia (even though I don't want that as I really like this strong female friendship)? I kept questioning it and I didn't believe it.

I think my problem overall is there was potential and it just fell short for me. It was a bit wishy-washy. But, I did enjoy the latter half of the book - I like the pacing, I liked the action, I liked the magic and this latter half is the reason I am thinking of reading the companion novel, Spinning Silver, which is set in this world but not with these characters. Plus, it's a reimagining of Rumplestiltskin, which I have never read so this is going to be intriguing.

But Uprooted is a very mixed bag for me. It missed the bullseye for me in the first half, but on the money in latter half, but as I hate DNFing audiobooks, I wonder if I would have kept going if I was reading this...

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Book Review - Lord of Shadows

Oh, Cassandra Clare. Every time I think I am through with you and the Shadowhunter world, I somehow get sucked back in. Now, I read the eNovella, Son of the Dawn, while I was on holiday in Cyprus (write-up for that is here), but I did wonder whether I was done with the world or not. Lord of Shadows was sent to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster, so I knew I was going to read this. I just wasn't sure when or if I wanted to. It's a beast of a book and anything longer than 500 pages makes me nervous.

But after my holiday in Cyprus, I wasn't sure what to read. I felt a bit in a weird reading funk and I want to keep my fun reading groove going. So, I grabbed a bunch of books off my TBR shelves and went to my Other Half, saying "Pick one". After skimming a few blurbs, he chose Lord of Shadows because it sounded my kind of weird.

After the events of Lady Midnight, Emma, her parabatai Julian and the other Blackthorns feel the betrayal of their once close friend. But that's not all they're worried about. Emma discovered a horrible truth about why parabatai should never fall in love with each other: they will be cursed. To protect Julian, she starts "dating" Julian's brother, Mark...

But even that might not be enough when it becomes clear that enemies are on all sides. The Unseelie King - the Lord of Shadows - want the Black Volume of the Dead. With this, he plans to break the Cold Peace and rule over both the Unseelie and Seelie Courts.

And with rising tensions between Shadowhunters and Downworlders, comes a extremist brand of Shadowhunters called the Cohort, who want to register all Downworlders and "unsuitable" Nephilim, now is a dark time. But the Blackthorns are desperate and when Julian decides to depend on a unpredictable enemy, the repercussions are beyond anything they can imagine...

I am going to say this right off the bat: I am still in two minds about this trilogy. It doesn't grab me the same way the first Mortal Instruments books and Infernal Devices trilogy did. There is something that doesn't click with me. Maybe if I read the latter Mortal Instruments books, I would be sucked in but I don't feel that need to read City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls or City of Heavenly Fire.

I've said this before and I will say this again, Cassandra Clare is awesome with diversity. Like I said in my Lady Midnight write-up, she has diversity left and right and it feels nature. It doesn't feel shoehorned in. And it grows with this book. We have a character who is on the autism spectrum, a character who is suffering mental health issue, a underage carer, Mexican characters, characters who cover the LGBT spectrum and it's glorious! It's wonderful to read this and it not feel like the author is ticking each of the diversity and representation boxes. This is one of this trilogy's strongest qualities.

This book does grow in character development and exploring the Shadowhunter world and that pushes this story arc forward nicely. I'm intrigued to see where this trilogy goes in this respect, hopefully it will show us the Shadowhunter world outside of the US and the UK. I wanna know what Shadowhunters in China or Australia are like...

I do have a few nitpicks with why I wasn't as blown away compared to other readers. Like I said before, I'm still not sure how I feel about this trilogy as a whole. I'm not sure why I'm holding back from being invested in this trilogy compared to other Shadowhunter books I've read. This is a me thing, not a book thing. Plus, the appearances of characters from other Shadowhunter books - Yes, this is going to be a hugely unpopular opinion - but I am done with these characters. To me, these characters's stories are done within their respected series, so while nice to see them pop up, it's kinda distracting me from liking the main characters from this trilogy...

But one of my biggest issues with this book is this book's length. It's under 700 pages long, and there was a good 100-150 pages in the middle where I really struggled with. I was dragging my feet through these pages and, though I really enjoy reading some of the characters, I did wonder if it was worth me continuing this book if I was struggling this badly. This just felt too long and with the final book in the trilogy, Queen of Air and Darkness, rumoured to be even longer (720-ish pages according to Amazon.co.uk), I am worried that I am going to hugely struggle to read and finish this trilogy. Hell, I'm wondering if I should read the next book if it's going to be that long and if it's going to be real slog to read...

I am in two minds about this. There are chapters and characters that I do like (the ending pulled the rug from under me) and I am intrigued to see how Cassandra Clare wraps everything up, I am worried about the book's length and whether my enjoyment will carry all the way through. We will have to wait and see...

Monday, 14 May 2018

Lucky Break

Give a warm Pewter Wolf welcome to author (and pilot!) Rob Stevens. His latest book has just been released and it sounds like one that will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.

Leon's twin, Lenny, had the coolest imagination. The best. But Lenny died a year ago and Leon and his family haven't been the same since.

So when Leon meets Arnold at school, Leon's not sure what to make of the new boy: he doesn't understand jokes or gets sarcasm and can be completely blunt. But the two make an unlikely friendship and before long, the pair keep finding themselves in trouble. And within the trouble the two cause, is Arnold helping Leon comes to terms with Lenny's death and move forward with his life?

This sounds like one of the those books I could probably read super fast and go "Oh, it's tackled this and this and I like how he did that!", hence why I jumped at the chance to have Rob on the blog when Harriet at Andersen Press asked me.

Now, because Rob is a hugely busy pilot (he might be in the air, flying a plane RIGHT NOW! Now, as you're reading my tiny little post!), he wrote this for me. A small list of authors that write humour brilliant (writing comedy is hard because humour is so subjective, depending on the person listening/reading the joke!), but hopefully, you will read this list and check out these authors!

Anyway, before I go, wanna say thank you to Rob for writing this blog post, even though I know he's super busy and thank you to Harriet at Andersen for asking me if I wanted to be involved. Thank you!

Now, over to Rob and his fave funny authors!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

I Was Born For This Blog Tour Music Alert!

As you guys know, I love listening to music while I read. Sometimes, that perfect song comes along that just click with the book in one form or other: the story, the characters (or one in particular). 

So, when I was asked if I wanted to be involved in the I Was Born For This blog tour, I jumped at the chance. Books and music! And I am a little obsessed with Alice's Heartstopper (if you haven't read it, YOU MUST). I mean, HOW COULD I REFUSE?! 

I don't want to say too much about I Was Born for This as I am playing to read this book sometime this month and I want to go in as blind as I can, but it has music, fandom, friendship and facing up to reality. 

And, to celebrate this book release, there's a blog tour where Alice picks a song that has a connection to I Was Born to This and we bloggers have to pick a song that links to reading, fandom or this book. I've gone with fandom and reading (why not). So, Alice's song choice is first and mine second... 

Before I throw you over to Alice, I wanna thank Alice for doing this and letting us snoop into her music (she's even created a Spotify playlist so, if you just can't wait, CHECK THIS OUT!!!) and Nina for organising this tour! It's been a blast to follow and discover new music and some old music I forgotten about. Now, onto the good stuff!



Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Kim Culbertson Talks Summer Reads

I am excited to have Kim Culbertson on The Pewter Wolf today! Kim is the author of The Wonder of Us, a summery read that I think some of you guys will devour by the pool or on the beach with a cocktail in your hand.

The Wonder of Us follow two friends - Riya and Abby - two best friends who been friends ship preschool. But when Riya and her family move to Germany and Abby stays in California, their friendship comes under strain so when Riya proposes a two week, six country adventure to save their friendship, they both jump at it.

But they haven't spoken to each other in weeks and both girls are keep secrets. Can this holiday really save their friendship or does growing up really mean growing apart?

It feels like a fun read, and because it feels very summery, when Kirsten from Walker asked if I wanted to do something on the blog, I jumped out it. I need a bit more fun on this blog, me thinks.

And what I got back from Kirsten is this yummy post from Kim, chatting about summer reads, which I think some of you guys will love! So, before I hand it over to Kim, two small things. First, thank you Kim for writing this post - I know you must be busy but thank you! And thank you Kirsten for emailing me and me going "Did I email you about this? My memory is ruined!"

And if you want to find Kim online, check her at kimculbertson.com or on Twitter at @kculberston. Now, over to Kim to talk her summer reads!


Monday, 7 May 2018

How Politics Changed Night of the Party


Why, hello y'all! Welcome to the first stop in the Night of the Party blog tour! Yes, I am kicking this tour off - not sure if this was a smart idea from Scholastic or not, but let's getting this party started!

... don't give me that look! I had to put a terrible pun in this post, somewhere!

Anyway, Night of the Party is a post-Brexit thriller, where we follow Zara. Zara who is dating Ash. Zara who is keeping secrets from Ash. She's the only person who knows what happened the night her friend, Sophie, died. But she can't tell anyone, because she's an Illegal - she and her family were born outside the UK and if the Government, ruled by The Party, find out, she and her family will be arrested on the spot and deported, and failing to report an Illegal is a crime in itself.

But she can't tell Ash either, as Ash is Sophie's brother, putting Zara in an impossible situation. Tell him and risk her and her family's lives, or stay quiet and risk the secret being exposed down the line. As the country is gearing up for an election, Zara must make a choice... Speak or stay silent...

Doesn't it sound messed-up? RIGHT UP MY STREET! I can't WAIT to sink my teeth into this book!

To kickstart the tour, Tracey Mathias has kindly written a tiny piece about how Night of the Party changed over the course of two years as she wrote it due to the UK politics!

But before I hand you over to Tracey, I just want to thank Tracey for finding time to write this - it's really interesting to read this! - and for Rachel at Scholastic who asked if I wanted to be involved in this tour! If you want to check Tracey's online home, go to either traceymathias.wordpress.com or @traceymathias.

Now, with that out of the way, over to Tracey!

Thursday, 3 May 2018

eBook Review - The Cruel Prince

I read this on the last few days of my Cyprus holiday, on my plane ride back and the day after. Yes, this was read in April and we are now in May but I pushed this back a few weeks (though if you look at my Goodreads and NetGalley, I have put the review up) because I didn't want to overwhelm you guys with reviews/write-ups and I don't like posting things up on the weekend (I know, I am weird book blogger) so it's now here, in May. 

And before I go any further, I'm not much of a fairy fan. I don't mind reading them - I read Cassandra Clare and her books have fairies in them, have read the first two books in Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series many years ago (here are the reviews for Iron King and Iron Daughter) and a year or two back, I did read Holly Black's Darkest Part of the Forest, which was ok - I can't honest remember much from it barring it having a dark fairy tale quality to it and having an gay romance at its twisted heart, which I liked. 

But everyone has been excited and raving over Cruel Prince! Even I got catch up with the buzz and requested an eProof of this, but due to my fantasy reading slump, I haven't gone near it. But, before I went on holiday to Cyprus, I was chatting to Olivia from That Fiction Life on instagram about Taken Moon candles and Cruel Prince was mentioned. When I was on holiday, and was finishing Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, I wondered what to read next when, out of nowhere, my brain started chanting "Cruel Prince!

So, I read it. And here we go! 

Cruel Prince is the first book in a new series set in the world of the Fey, which sits close to ours but not quite. In it, we follow Jude who, at the age of seven, saw a fairy kill both her parents and steal her, and her two sisters into the High Court of Faerie. They are now teenagers and Jude wants to fit in desperate. Shame the fey won't let her forget her mortality and the worse is Prince Cardan. But to win a place in Court, Jude has to defy him and her "father" and face the consequences...

But Court is full of backstabbing and political twistings of truth (fairies can not lie, but they are experts in telling the truth that reveals everything and nothing), and Jude will have to do unthinkable things to protect her sisters and Faerie. 

Where do I start with this? This book is crazy. I kinda expected this as I was reading a fairy book and in most books that contain fairies, they are dark and tricksters. But these fairies are violent and terrifying at times, while hugely political and the twists/betrayals kept the book moving fast and I never felt settled on anything the characters said or did. 

The characters themselves are intriguing. The fairies, like I said, are dark, blood-thirsty and manipulative. But so are the humans. Jude, our main character who's telling the story, is hugely flawed and manipulative herself. She's more of an anti-hero than I expected (no one warned me out that!), but she is so flawed and damaged that she does things then changes her mind with no real thought, she made reading this novel unpredictable and in an unpredictable world of the fey, this makes this a gripping, terrifying and compelling read. 

Most twists, I saw or suspected coming, but there was a few near the end that made my jaw drop and I have to give Holly Black a huge applaud as I was so blindsided by them, I knew I had to read the sequel, The Wicked King, just to see how on earth the characters were going to recover from them! 

Most things worked for me and made me click through my kindle over a course of four/five days. However, there were one or two things that did grate on me slightly. 

The first was names. For the first 15-20%, I found it really hard to connect with the characters. It was because it was dark and I had to find my "in" with Jude, but the main thing was the names. There are so many names to get in your head and to keep straight in your head. I imagine the Court to be small so everyone knows everyone, but it took a good while for the names to sink in my head and them to stick. Once they did, I was flying! 

The second was the romance. Yes, there is a bit of romance in here. And it's hard to describe how I feel about them. One made me go "Yuck" over it and the second was so complicated that I am weirdly intrigued to see what Holly is going to do with the characters. It can go one of two or three ways. None of them are good. 

But even with the flaws that Cruel Prince have, I couldn't put this down and I know that I will be desperate to read Wicked King when it comes out at the beginning of next year (so I might need to reread Cruel Prince before the year is out - just to keep it fresh in my head)

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

eBook Review - Son Of The Dawn

A mini-review of sorts from when I was on holiday in Cyprus (yes, am still on that! I don't want to overwhelm you with write-ups this month. Next month might be a different thing but am easing you in!). This came as a surprise from the lovely John from Walker. A few months back at the #WalkerYA Blogger Event (write-up here if you missed it), Walker announced that they will be publishing the Ghosts of The Shadow Market, an anthology set in Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunters world. I remember going "Oooh" over this and didn't think anything much from it till just before my Cyprus holiday when John emailed, asking if I wanted to read this. I went yes and, when I was on holiday, I got a iBook code for this and, once I got myself on wifi, I download this and read this as quickly as I could.

Quick background dump. This will be published in the same way as The Bane Chronicles and Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. A novella will be published in ebook form, once a month. All the novellas, plus two unpublished novellas will be published in one collection, sometime in 2019. And, like before, Cassandra Clare is co-writing this with a mix of authors: Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman and Kelly Link. And with connections to all of Shadowhunter series - Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, Dark Artifices and Last Hours, though the series follows Brother Zachariah throughout the years as he visits the Shadow Markets round the world, trying to find a mystery item...

The first novella in this collection is Son of the Dawn. Set several years prior to the events of The Mortal Instruments, the Lightwoods of the New York Institute is expecting a new member to join their family: Jace Wayland. But when Silent Brother, Brother Zachariah, is in the Shadow Market, he meets vampire Raphael, he hears something that throws ghosts from the past into the danger of the present...

I like the Shadowhunter world. I'm not as up to date with the world compared to other Shadowhunter fans (I haven't read the latter three Mortal Instruments books [out of fear/me thinking those characters's stories are done for me] nor have I read Lord of Shadows. Not yet but hopefully will read before Queen of Air and Darkness is published at the end of the year), and this was a nice story to read. I read it in two sittings (the first before I went to bed and the second when I woke up the following morning). It felt like returning to an old friend. Fans for Jem, Jace, Alec and Isabelle will enjoy this nugget of what their lives was like the years before City of Bones.

The little jem that I enjoyed hugely was the bonus material, Not for Humans, written by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. It's only a few page longs and set a few days prior to City of Bones but I devoured this and just wanted more. If this is what Holly and Cassandra writing together is like, I need to get my rear in gear and read their co-author series, Magisterium.

But I had a niggle with this. Maybe it's me, but as I was reading this, I couldn't get away from the feeling that this didn't feel like Cassandra Clare writing, but this was Sarah Rees Brennan. I understand this is a co-authored story, but it feels a bit like Cursed Child in a sense where these are the characters created by the main author, yet someone else is using them and it feels off. I think I have this problem in the past when Sarah Rees Brennan co-writing a Shadowhunter novella. I think it's her writing and I don't click with it. It's not her problem, it's mine.

For fans of the Shadowhunter world, you will enjoy this. And I hope to read the next novella in the series, Cast Long Shadows, when that comes out next month...

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Dear Martin

Dear Martin,

Hell, this isn't weird or intimidating. Nope. Not at all! [insert nervous laughter here]

Ok, let me explain why I'm writing to you. I was asked by the lovely Eve at Simon and Schuster a few weeks back if I wanted to be involved in a blog tour for a book called Dear Martin, written by Nic Stone. It felt like a sign when I got the email as it was the fifty anniversary of your death (sorry to be morbid while writing to you) and, in the book, the main character writes letters to you after he is arrested by an off-duty white police officer and, after the event, something happens involving another white police officer, and we see how the main character copes with everything that happens.

Which means I should write about the Black Lives Matter movement. Or gun control in the US. Brexit. The current US President. How we're killing the planet. Issues within the LGBT+ community. Why we want superheroes in our lives, now more than ever. The environment. I could research your life and your legacy as well as other inspiring people. I could write to you. about anything. Anything.

So, why is it so hard to do so?

*deep breath*

Ok, there's a show I used to watch - I still dip in and out of it from time to time. Grey's Anatomy. Anyway, there's a line in one of the early seasons that I keep thinking about every now and again. Maybe because I'm a dark person, maybe because I like how true this sentence is, or maybe because I'm so jaded with the grown-up world around me. The quote goes like this:

"We all remember the bedtime stories of our childhood. The shoe fits Cinderella, the frog turns into prince, Sleeping Beauty is awakened by a kiss. Once upon a time, and then they lived happily ever after. Fairy tales, the stuff of dreams. The problem is, fairy tales don't come true. It's the other stories. The ones that begin with dark and stormy nights and end in the unspeakable. It's the nightmares that always seem to become reality."

A few years ago, I would have said this line was rubbish. It was true for some people, up to a point, I would argue. But it's not true to everyone.

But now... now I'm not so sure on myself.

It's seems weird that I feel like this. So unsure of myself over something that, a few years ago, I was strong-minded about. And in some cases, changing your mind is the right thing - you learn new things, you mature and you try and be a better person for it.

When I was a child, like most kids, everything was black and white. Right and wrong. It was so clean-cut. But as we grew up, the line blurred between them and it all got tangled and messy. And when we were kids, it was so easy for us to say "That's wrong. Stop that." whereas now as an adult, we're more shy about it. We're more quiet about speaking out, especially when the other person is, for one reason or another, more powerful or louder than you.

So, how did you do it, Martin? How did you stand up and call out injustice, even when the world was trying to disagree with you? What makes you remain standing out and continue to say "No, this is wrong"?

I ask this as over the past few years, the world feels darker somehow. Things happen and it feels so out of anyone's control that to have a person say "This is wrong" or "I've made a mistake and I must correct it", it feels like shouting into a void.

And I know what you would: one voice can change the world. And I do believe that. But it's hard, sometimes, when you look at the world and you see the evil and cruelty in it.

Maybe that's why we have to keep going. Keep standing up and keep shouting into the void. But the world is a bad place, but over time, little by little, it will get better. It will be kinder. I mean, compared to where we were 50 years ago, we're improved so much. We still got a way to go, but we're trying, we're getting there. We'll break that glass ceiling and if we hit it in the same spot, over and over again, someone will break it and won't be scratched by glass.

Sorry for my rambling. I didn't mean for this letter to go this way. But writing this (then rewriting it several times over to get the thoughts out right - well, for it to make sense to me!) has oddly been helpful!

Thank you. Will try and keep standing and keep shouting.

Andrew

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Book Review - Long Way To A Small Angry Planet

You can blame Ellie aka @patchworkbunny (her blog is Curiosity Killed the Bookworm - you should check it out!) and Darran aka @ShinraAlpha (he's involved in the eZine, Shift - check that out as well!). I saw Darran was reading Record of a Spaceborn Few and I went "Ooooh!" and asking questions about this series. Ellie saw my questions and helped answering my questions and went "You know what? I love this author and this series so much, I will send you the first book and you can read it on your holiday."

And it came with a day or two before my holiday so, of course, I read it by the pool in Cyprus.

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, a spaceship that punches holes in space to make transport easier, she isn't expecting much. She just wants to be far away from her troubled past. That's why she's using a false name. But what she gets on the Wayfarer is more than she expects: a mishmash of species and personalities, but what Rosemary wants.

But when the crew get an offer of a lifetime, the chance to create a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet, they would be mad to not accept it. This could earn them enough money to live comfortable for years. But first, they need to get there, and while space is vast, spaceships are small and some secrets can't survive in a space that small...

This is a space opera, something I am not well read in - in fact, I'm not that well read a reader in the scifi genre, but I devoured this in three days. I couldn't put this book down and I had such a blast with it. The characters were unique and fleshed-out, each species felt fresh and different. For a sci-fi book, it tackles sexuality, gender, race, politics and goodness knows what, this book knocked it out of the park. This read felt interesting, weird yet it was a gripping read.

But, I hear you say, on Goodreads, you didn't give this a five star review. This is when a half star is needed on Goodreads. So why didn't I give it the full five stars? Because... I don't know. It's hard to explain but there was something that held me back. I wonder if it's because I read this so fast (three days is fast for me!), I didn't connect to the book and the characters so much as I would have if I read it over a two week period.

But I had such a wonderful time with this that I can't wait to continue with this series and read A Closed and Common Orbit and Record of a Spaceborn Few. I am aware that each book can be read as standalone and companions to each other. I think fans of Doctor Who and Firefly would love this series (so thank you/curse you Ellie and Darran!)

Monday, 23 April 2018

eBook Review - Girl with the Pearl Earring

As you guys know, I took a two week break earlier this month as I went on holiday with my Other Half and his family to Cyprus for a week (Wednesday to Wednesday) and in that week, I finished Girl with the Pearl Earring on the plane there (as well as starting & finishing Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and Son of the Dawn [Ghosts of the Shadow Market: eNovella 1] by Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan while nearly finishing The Cruel Prince by Holly Black on the plane back) so you might a few reviews flying at you over the next few weeks.

And the reason I got this is because I saw this in the Kindle Spring Sale for £1.99. It was a random find and when I read the first few lines, I went "I know this is a big deal of a read, but I think I should buy this!" and after reading Illuminae and audiobooking Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, I wanted to read something short and fast. I misremembered how long this was and thought it would be perfect.

Set in 17th century Holland, we follow Griet as she becomes a maid, working in the house of painter Johannes Vermeer. But as she works on housework, laundry and caring for his six children, she slowly becomes entangled in his world and his work...

Ok, I admit it. I am not a historical fiction reader so this is outside of my comfort zone. But I see why people really like this book as I had fun reading this. This read more like a contemporary than a historical novel, which I feared would be stuffy and a bit rigid, but I really like the story of how the Girl with the Pearl Earring was painted and the story behind that, as very little is known about Johannes Vermeer and his works.

But I really liked was Griet and her character development. I have read reviews saying that the book explores a "corruption of innocence" and "the price of genius", but when I was reading it, I thought it hinted more of what happens when two people have an emotional affair rather than a physical affair, something that is much worse. But, now am thinking about it, it does feel like it's open to the reader's mind.

Like I said earlier on, I'm not a historical fiction reader and this read, to me, like a contemporary, but I know some historical fiction readers like a lot of historical detail so this might feel a bit history-lit.

But I had a good time reading this and I might be intrigued enough to read another Tracy Chevalier or risk reading another historical novel in the near future...

Friday, 20 April 2018

Audiobook Review - The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

You guys on the Internet do love this book. It's getting a lot of love from other book bloggers, vloggers and Instagram. So the fact it's taken me till now to listen to the story is a bit of a surprise. I mean, this has elements that would make me spend a lot of money to buy - huge amount of diversity, adventure, fun.

Anyway, how did I get this audiobook? Well, one day, I was randomly listening to latest episodes of podcasts I loved listening to years ago and fell out of favour with them for one reason or another. One of them was Answer Me This and they announced that they were doing a thing with Audible where if you do a free trial via their website (answermethispodcast.com/audible), you can get two audiobooks for free. And I love free things so off I went and I got this and Deborah Harkness's Book of Life (review for that is here). So, thanks Answer Me This.

Anyway, Gentleman's Guide (I'm not going to state the whole title through this blog post) follows Henry "Monty" Montague has been born and bred to be an English gentleman. But he doesn't act like an eighteenth century gentleman should. He drinks, gambles, sleeps around, makes reckless decisions and, somehow, is allowed a tour round Europe for one year. After that, he has to grow up and run his father's estate, something Monty is horrid over (for reasons that are explain through the course of the book). But this year away is going to be great, he knows it. He's going with his best friend, Percy, they are going to have fun and hopeful, this will be the year Monty can tell Percy about his all-consuming crush for him...

But that's not going to happen. His little sister, Felicity, is joining them so she can join finishing school (something she is loathing, though she's been demanding an education for years) and when Monty makes a reckless (and somewhat stupid) decision, their trip turns into a manhunt with the three being chased over Europe, things might not go as Monty hope. Or will it...?

I am HUGELY TORN over this. On the one hand, I completely get why you all love this so much. The diversity with LGBT+ characters, black characters, characters with medical conditions, characters with backstory (one main character's backstory - Monty's - is a bit of a trigger-warning, so be on your guard with that), how this book tackled racism, homophobia and the slave trade in this historical settings, gender equality. This book tackled a lot of issues and yet, was still fun.

Which makes this next paragraph a bit hard to write. While this was fun in the last half-ish of the story, the first half was a struggle. Not because the story didn't really kick off for a while (it kicks off, really, after the characters leave Paris), but because of Monty. Now, I get now that Monty goes through a huge character development and the Monty at the end of the book is the Monty I liked and enjoyed reading about. But the Monty for the first half or three quarters of the book is a problem for me. He was arrogant, self-involved, completely thoughtless and reckless that I found him quite hard to like. So much so that whenever I had a moment to listen to this, I would always find an excuse not to. I would have to push myself to listen and push through because once things got into gear storewide and with Monty's and Percy's relationship, I was there. But the first half of the book, for me, was hard. And there were times in the second half of the book that when Monty made stupid mistakes or rash decisions, I did want to shake him and go "You're having such wonderful character development! Don't go backwards on that!"

So... yeah... I am not in love with this compared to most of my book blogger and vlogger pals. But, I hear you ask, will be you reading/listening to the sequel/companion novel, The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, that follows Felicity? ... maybe. I mean, I like Felicity and her no-nonsense, badass-ness so I would be intrigued to see what Mackenzi Lee does, but I won't be rushing out to buy it.

However, if Mackenzi Lee fancies writing something linked to Skippy-o (no idea if that's correct spelling or not. AUDIOBOOK!), the pirate captain who we met 3/4 of the way through the story, then I would be on board for that. There was something about his character I really connected with...

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Book Review - Illuminae

... well, if you've read my last post, that didn't take me long to read. Well, actually, I finished this the day after my "I'm On A Blog Holiday" post went live and I had been reading it for two weeks prior to that. Mainly because of my fantasy reading slump. Hopefully, by the time you're reading this, I would have kicked myself up the backside and would be back reading my beloved fantasy again.

But, until then, let's talk Illuminae.

Illuminae is the first book in the Illuminae Files trilogy, and it starts with Kady dumping Ezra and both thinking their day couldn't get any worse. Oh, you poor teens, for their don't know that, by the end of the day, their planet had been invaded...

Two mega-corporations go to war over a tiny ice-covered planet that drilling illegally for fuel, not many people got saved from the planet. But Ezra and Lady did. But they're not on the same ship. They're on two different ships and after the fight the ships got into and with the enemy chasing them, it's going to take a long time till they're safe.

But things are going wrong. A deadly plague has broken out on one of the three ships, turning people into something close to space zombies, the ship's AI is seriously flawed and the enemy is chasing them, and it looks like the people in charge of the ships are lying to the refuges. Kady is trying to hack the ships's computer, trying to find the truth, but it looks like the only person that can help her is Erza, the boy who's heart she broke mere hours before the invasion...

So, this book - ok, this series now that book three is out - has got a lot of love on booktube and the blogosphere, and I did try to read this years ago around the time when the first book was published. Got about 100 pages in then had to stop. It was so jarring to read (I will explain in a tick, bear with me). But I wanted to try again and after the whole Page 112 Tag (and my Other Half picking it when I got super stuck), I wasn't sure if this was going to work with me...

The biggest issue that I worried about (and this is the reason why I DNF the first time and the reason why I struggled/nearly DNF this time round) is the style of this book. It isn't written like other books. It is written solely in reports, emails, interview transcripts, DM/IM, diary entries, classified documents to name a few. And because it's written in this style, it works both in favour and against the story. It takes time for you to get your head round the style - around 100 to 150 pages - and because of this, you have to go slower and the pacing feels off and it feels jarring. The whole start feels jarring because you want to get use to the book's style and the story but you can't connect to it till you get the book's rhyme.

I am going to admit this, reading the first 100-150 pages was a struggle. There was one or two occasions I did consider DNFing to because I couldn't get my head round it. But something clicked and I went "OH!" and it made my reading experience with this book interesting. I got it and it made the story go quicker. Plus, it was hugely different to read a book made completely out of reports and documents. It makes this book feel unique in the scifi genre - I do hope this isn't going to become a gimmick through the trilogy.

The story itself is interesting. Yes, there are one or two of you out there who have said it's a bit flat, character-wise, and the plot is quite cliche, and I understand why. This is a file, full of documents so the characters and the plot are going to feel more flat and distant compared to most books. The weird thing is once I found my groove in how to read this, I couldn't stop thinking about it and trying to find moments to read one more page...

I am going to say that, because of how it's written, this book is one trippy read. This book is very much a marmite read - you are either going to really enjoy its uniqueness or you are going to hate it and struggle like heck. There is no middle ground here.

So, am I going to read the rest of the series (Gemina and Obsidio)? Well... yes. Yes, I am. The publisher, Rock the Boat, has sent me the entire series so can jump right back in (but am going to read a few other things before I do), but to find a scifi book or series that clicks with me is kinda rare - like I said, I am a fantasy/contemporary YA reader - so to want to find out what happens next is super rare. My only concern is that I hope this style of writing isn't going to be become a gimmick and Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff keep it fresh and new and engaging...

Monday, 16 April 2018

The Page 112 Tag


You can blame Simon from SavageReads for this. I saw this on his YouTube Channel (if you haven't subscribe to him, you MUST!) and went "That is GENUIS! I LOVE IT! I HAVE TO DO THIS!!!". So, I have been trying to do it. But it's only taken me till now to do it! IT'S BEEN A LONG BLOODY TIME COMING! Plus, with the sudden fantasy reading funk I was in last month. I thought this would be a perfect way to get me back into that world that I think am ready to return too...

Basically, you get several books and you read page 112 from each book. Just that page. Nothing else. Because, around that page, that's when you get a good feel for the book. So, you read only that page and, once you've read all the books, you decide which book you want to read based SOLELY on that page. I used this around new year to buy a few books in Waterstones and it was such a good move. I think I will be using this trick when book shopping in future...

Because of this, using my eReader is a little out of the question (is there an eBook version of this tag? If there is, LET ME KNOW! I got a new Kindle for Christmas from my Other Half and I wanna use it!), but I have a good number of physical books on my TBR shelves (even after a mini-book cull) that I want to read! So, here at my choices for this tag!


Also, to make things a bit easier for me writing this post and you reading it, am going to only write up my thoughts and reactions in one sentence/one or two words to make it easier. So, let's get this party started!

THE IRON CAST by Destiny Soria
Reaction: Ooooh! This is good. Am intrigued over these characters and the situation they're in... This surprised me a lot! 

WITCHES ABOARD by Terry Pratchett
Reaction: Hmm. I feel safe reading Pratchett And I think I will be fine with this but in two minds. Out of the two, Iron Cast has the edge... 

THE MAGICIANS' GUILD by Trudi Canavan
Reaction: Hmmm... I'm not sure am in right mood for this one, but I know that, when I am, I will devour this book whole. 

ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Reaction: It's the last page of a report and intrigued. I think this series will be one weird reading experience so this might be a good place to start but we shall see... 

THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton
Reaction: The writing is lush and I think I can get on board with this. It might not be a fast read but I can handle that.

THE SMOKE THIEVES by Sally Green
Reaction: Well, that wasn't what I was expecting. I loved Sally's Half Bad trilogy so reading this was a surprise. I do think I will like this, but not sure how I feel about reading it now...

CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi
Reaction: ****! This was good, but a few others were good as well and I know I can read any of these and be happy! NOW WHAT?! 

DANG IT! After reading all these, I have four that could be perfect reading for my mood. Maybe 3 at a push. And those 4 are... 


So now what? I could ask my Other Half to pick one for me or I could read the first sentence of the four books. So... I read the first sentence and, after getting torn (again), shouted at my Other Half to pick a random number between one and four. He choose 3 so he picked... 

ILLUMINAE!

Hopefully, this will grab me by the throat and refuse to let me go. Fingers crossed. If not, we shall see what I do next... Am leaning towards Iron Cast and not sure why, but this was fun. In a weird way. Am going to have to do this again in future... 

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Legendary Ladies Contest

I'm BACK!!! Did you miss me? No? Rude!

Anyway, to kickstart my return, I have a small contest for you guys! And it's celebrate badass women  and goddesses!

Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses To Empower and Inspire You looks at goddesses from mythology round the world - such as Artemis from Greek mythology, Mazu from Chinese, Kali from Hindu and Oshun from Yoruba among others - to inspire and make readers channel their Inner Goddess (and not in the Fifty Shades of Grey way!).

To celebrate this blog tour of Legendary Ladies, I am hosting a small contest, all thanks to Faye Rogers PR and Chronicle Books. I am giving away a copy of Legendary Ladies, a copy go Bad Girls Throughout History and some Bad Girls stationery!

And all you have to do is fill in the form below!

Ok, the boring stuff. This contest will close this coming Friday (20th April 2018) at around 7pm. The winner will be chosen at random by Random.org and once chosen, the winner will be announced on Twitter. I will email the winner for their postal address so the publisher can send their winnings to them.

With all that out of the way, good luck to everyone who's going to enter and may the odds be in your favour.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

RSM - The Easter Edition

You guys have probably seen this coming for a while as I have been mentioning it for the past few weeks, but I am going to take the next few weeks off from the blog.

As much as I want to say "I feel OH-SO-GUILTY for taking a break from my blog", I'm not. I'm actually quite looking forward to it. Things are happening behind the scenes in that awful thing we call real life and I want to not worry about them and the blog.

But I always kinda knew I was going to take this break from the blog due to Easter and holiday am taking with my Other Half's family (there will be heat and sunshine so I will be hiding in the shade, hissing at the hideous yellow ball in the sky) so it just made sense to have this little break now.

Hopefully, I will have my laptop with me so can still write stuff and use them for future posts and I will hopefully be out of my fantasy reading slump so I have, since the beginning of the year, know what book I want to take with me (barring my kindle, of course) and that book is Priestess of the White by Trudi Canavan. And this is fantasy and I NEED to get out of my fantasy slump before I go away - I have back-up reads just in case but... I WANNA READ THIS BOOK!!! Magic, religion, Gods - what more can I ask for?

So, yes... am taking a tiny blog holiday. At the moment, am thinking two weeks. I might have one/two posts scheduled (not sure at time of writing this) so don't be surprised if something does pop up on the blog.

But then, don't be surprised if nothing pops up or my blog holiday goes over two weeks. I will be on Twitter and Instagram so don't worry too much. If anything happens, will tweet.

But before I go, I just wanna say thank you for reading my blog. Yes, I know it sounds corny and there's probably double meaning which will make one or two of you go "IS HE QUITTING?!" (am not), but I don't say thank you enough to you guys for reading my blog/twitter/instagram/facebook/pinterest/goodreads (wow! I need to maybe cull one or two of my social medias! *eyes Facebook for some unknown reason*) and doing involved. You guys rock!

Thank you again and I hope you have a lovely Easter and enjoy the next few weeks of quiet. But before I leave you, random rabbit gif to show me running away to my holiday? ... why not!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

eBook Review - A Maigret Christmas

My fantasy reading funk is getting weird and out of hand. That's not a bad thing as it made me look at stories I bought or have advance reader copies of (physical and ebook) and, because I wanted something fast and outside my comfort zone, this called to me from my kindle folder "NetGalley TBR" (am trying to get myself organised for once!) and went "Ok, let's try this."

In this bind-up, we have three stories. Two novellas and one short story, set around the time of Christmas. The first is the titled story - following Inspector Maigret one Christmas Day when two neighbours come over and say a little girl saw Father Christmas that night. He gave her a doll but was pulling up some floorboards...

The second is Seven Crosses In A Notebook which follows a policeman at a switchboard, looking into as case that could involve his family. The third and final story is The Little Restaurant In Les Ternes (A Christmas Story for Grown Up), which follows two women after they witness a suicide.

Now, I have problems with my reading experience as my eProof only had A Maigret Christmas. And even though, I'm not 100% certain I got the full version - the story ended quite abruptly, hence my uncertainty on whether to write my thoughts and reactions to this. But, am going to talk about my experience with Maigret Christmas and hope that's alright. But am warning you now, am only talking about this one story so take what I say with caution.

I'm not a huge crime reader. I like reading crime but I don't do it as often as I like. So, trying this out ticked some of my boxes. It's crime, it's a translation and people are become aware of this (with thanks to ITV recent adaption of some of the books in the Maigret series). Hence why I tried it.

This is an odd creature as I liked elements of it, and then there were other elements that didn't work for me. I'm quite fickle when it comes to reading crime. I liked the translation work as it didn't feel false. The characters intrigued me.

But - and this is a big but - I found reading this a struggle. Maybe it's because I'm not used to reading this type of mystery, but it was a slog for me to read. I would always be checking the line at the bottom of my kindle, telling me how much I had read and how much more I had to read. I never felt really connected to the story.

But this is my opinion and I only read one story. Who knows? I might try reading Georges Simenon in the future and it would click for me, but this wasn't for me. But if you don't try new things, who will know if you like them or not? So, am glad I tried something new!

Monday, 26 March 2018

Mini eBook Review - Paddington Turns Detective

Still in my fantasy reading slump, so decided on impulse to read/request this World Book Day collection of three Paddington Bear short stories.

Confession time: I have never read Paddington Bear or seen the movies. Don't look at me like that!

In this little collection, we see Paddington Bear trying to be detective, sail a boat and do some magic. All with mixed results, making life for the Brown family quite extraordinary.

This was fun! I think my younger self would have hugely enjoyed this, but there was something comforting about reading Paddington and his life with the Browns. There was something really positive about seeing Paddington doing (or try to do) his best at what he puts his mind to.

I do believe, though I might be wrong, that these shorts have appeared in other collections, but this is the first time that they have been put together. So, if you are a Paddington fan or you have read his previous adventures, you might be a tad disappointed.

But this felt very nostalgic, even though I have never read Michael Bond, and I think new fans will enjoy Paddington's adventures (and with the movies, I sense new fans are discovering him quickly).

Thursday, 22 March 2018

eBook Review - Squared Away

Like I said yesterday, am having a genre reading slump/wall so I decided that, the next few reads I do should be outside my comfort zone. I should read something fun, silly and fluffy. Not "Pick My Next Read" as I didn't want to put pressure on people just in case I DNFed it.

So, I remembered vaguely that I requested an adult LGBT romance on NetGalley from an author I tried out once before and went "This. I kinda want to try this", so that's why I read Squared Out, even though I am not a huge romance reader.

After the news of his sister's and husband's deaths, SEAL Mark has to come home to act as guardian to his two nieces and nephew, all under the age of five. What he didn't expect is to come up against Isaiah, who is determined to file for custody. But Mark remembered that last time they met six years ago, Isaiah was young, wild and gets bored easily...

But Isaiah is determined to prove Mark wrong. Isaiah has been there for the family while Mark was away on missions and he's determined to keep the kids together, no matter what. The kids are the most important thing in this situation, not Mark's fears or Isaiah's now dead crush on Mark.

But as the legal situation tries to sort itself out, the two start developing attraction for each other... but unless one of them can open their heart and speak, they both could lose what's important...

I power-read this over the course of three days when I was off work and it was such a lovely distraction. It was light, fluffy, sexy, a Happily Ever After ending (the publisher has said on their site that they publish happily ever after [HEA] or happy for now [HFN] endings), everything I needed at the moment. So, this book came out the right time for me.

What I found interesting is that one of the characters used LGBT terms I have never heard of - demisexual and ace-grey - and it was fascinating to read a character who identified as demisexual and understand this more. I do wish that there was more information on this, though, as when I first heard of it, I did a Google search to get a basic understanding on it, but it's nice to see other sexual identities being talked about here.

This is a beach read for me, a story I switched my brain off to while reading, but I had such a good time reading this, and I am open to trying out another Annabeth Albert story - not sure if it will be in the series or another, but I'm up for the idea.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Genre Reading Slump

You know that plan I had at the start of the month? The one where you guys would pick my next read via polls on Twitter and other social media sites. Well... that kinda hasn't happened.

I know, I know, I do this all the time. I have a really cool idea for the blog and a interesting way to interact with you guys and then it all falls flat! Why, I hear you ask. Well... I seem to have hit a reading slump.

But not any reading slump. Oh no, dear reader. It's waste than a reading slump where I don't want to pick up any book. No. I'm in a reading slump against one genre. I can happily read other genres bar this one and this one genre is my bread and butter reading. If you look at my TBR (both physical and Kindle), you'll see that this genre is a huge part of my reading so hitting this reading wall is painful and really problematic for me!

That genre is fantasy.

I love fantasy. I adore it and I have plans to widen my reading scope of fantasy, going to more adult and more longer in length - You guys saw I audiobooked The Discovery of Witches trilogy and I read The Queen of the Tearling trilogy last year - so I'm ready for this challenge. Am ready to try and reread Eragon by Christopher Paolini, and try new fantasy books such as Trudi Canavan, the Earthsea series by Ursula K Le Guin, more Discworld by Terry Pratchett and get round to Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman.

But it looks like I need to take a read or two (or seven - who knows?!) away from fantasy and read different genres. No idea what I will read (The Book Thief? Americanah? The Clan of the Cave Bear? Who knows?!) but bear with me while I run a little loopy on "What's on my TBR that isn't fantasy?" blitz. Normal reading schedules will return hopefully soon, but hopefully, trying new things is going to be fun! ... right?

Maybe it is a good thing that I'm planning a tiny blog break over Easter... Hopefully, this is will get my reading back on track!

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Book Review - Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

My first "You Pick My Next Read" write-up. It's taken a while to post as I didn't want to overwhelm you all with a lot of blog posts. Plus, with me going on a small blog holiday over Easter and a few weeks in April, I want to pace myself and not do what I normally do to myself and turn my brain into a mental pretzel (work has been doing this to me a lot lately so I didn't want The Pewter Wolf to go the same way...)

So, my first vote at the beginning of the month and you picked Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Which I kinda wanted to read for past few months. I have been told since this book's release to read it as "You'll love it, Andrew!". But was a bit intimidated by the buzz round it. Bit like why I haven't read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman, though I REALLY want to. It seemed like now I felt ready to try it, and with the movie coming out next month (and everyone loving it from what I have heard), I was really happy this won.

Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to figure his life out. He goes to school, has friends, has a cool family but has a secret - he's gay and doesn't know how to tell people. When someone leaves an anonymous message on the town's tumblr that they're gay, Simon starts to send anonymous to him and slowly, Simon begins to fall in love with the mysterious Blue.

But when one of his classmates finds the emails and begins to blackmail him, Simon has to find things out: who Blue is, a way to come out and to find out who is he and own it...

Before you say anything, yes, internet. You were right. I should have read this sooner. I should have. Because OH! MY! GOD!!!

If I had this when I was a teen, coming to terms with my own sexual identity, this would have been My Book. Yes, I had Harry Potter and Twilight and His Dark Materials, but this would have been My Book. I would have read and read this so many times and I think this would have, maybe, help me come to terms with myself sooner and been braver in owning my truth.

So yeah... I adore this book and I know I will be rereading this in the future. I adore Simon and fell instantly for him. I loved his friends, even when I felt like they were getting the raw end of the deal (Leah, am looking at you - but we're going to talk about you later). I loved reading his family. I loved the romantic which wasn't heavy handed. I liked the mystery element over who Blue was. I loved the humour, the writing - everything in this book worked.

Even Martin and the blackmail - which I loathed and hated, and if you read most of my Twitter feed, I was spitting venom over - I liked reading because it put a spotlight on this and I liked the fallout and how Martin reacted after realising the damage he caused. Which made me love Simon even more because of how he coped with the fallout.

If I have one tiny critique, it's that I wish there was a moment in the book where I could tell who was who. I kept getting muddled over if Simon had one sister or two (and who were they?) and if Leah and Nick (Simon's best friends) were related or not (they're not).

But, I love this book. I think Becky might be an author I will be binge reading/instant buy from now on. And with me having The Upside of Unrequited on my kindle and the "sequel" of Simon, Leah on the Offbeat (this is why I think Leah had a bit of a rough time as we have her story to come) out in May, a novel she co-wrote with Adam Silvera out later this year and the movie of Simon coming out next month (please don't suck!) and my intake of Oreos might increase (if you've read the book, you understand), my bank account is gonna hate me by the end of the year! So yes, am late to the party, but so glad am here now!

Friday, 16 March 2018

Shatter Me Contest!

CONTEST TIME!!! And it's a good'un! I promise!

After years of hype and excitement in the US, a UK publisher - Electric Monkey - finally picked up the rights to publish the Shatter Me series in the UK. And not only are we getting the trilogy, Tahereh Mafi is writing an extra three books within this world as TV studios write a TV pilot based on the world.

For those who aren't aware of this series, Shatter Me follows Juliette, a girl who has been held prisoner in a cell without human contact for over 200 days. Why? Because her touch is lethal. Anyone who touches her will fall red within seconds. If she wasn't a threat, she would be the perfect weapon. But something expected happens that no one sees coming...

A boy touches her. And he survived her touch...

The series follows her journey from there, continuing through Unravel Me and Ignite Me. The fourth book in the series, Restore Me, sees Juliette and those who survive thinking the war they fought in is over. How very wrong they are...

If that doesn't wet your appetite, here's a trailer to feast your eyes on...


Get it? Feast your eyes on... yeah, I'll see myself out...

Anyway, to celebrate the release of the series so far coming to UK bookshops, the lovely people at Electric Monkey have given me the series so far to give away! One lucky winner will win a copy of Shatter Me, Unravel Me, Ignite Me & Restore Me

Ok, the boring info-dump time! For you to enter contest, fill in the form below. That's it. Nothing more than that. Although, heads up, this is a UK addresses only contest, and this contest will end on Thursday 22nd March 2018 at 7pm. The winner will be chosen at random via random.org and will be announced on Twitter. Once done, will email the winner for details for the books can be posted to them as soon as the publisher can. 

With that out of the way, good luck and may the odds be ever in your favour. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Reading Some Kindle Samplers (Again)

Ok, I did this a few weeks ago and I kinda enjoyed doing it (here is my first attempt at this), and with still a stupid amount of Kindle Samples on my iPhone's Kindle App, I decided I wanted to do it again.

Basically, it's me reading the whole sample or a small section of the sample. Some are entire chapters, others are just a few pages due to the book's length. So was going to read them and go with my gut reactions to them.

So let's get the weird party started!

DOWN BY CONTACT by Santino Hassell
(Goodreads Link)
I read the first book in the series - Illegal Contact - last year via NetGalley and I gobbled this up. It came at the right time for me. It was light, fluffy, but there was an edge to it that I quite liked. So, when I saw this was on Amazon, I downloaded the sampler and read it, thinking it would be the same fun read I wanted. It was following a side character I liked reading in the previous and this promised angst. But... I don't know. I didn't finish reading the first chapter. Maybe it was my mood, but but I didn't click with this in the same way that I did with Illegal Contact. I can't figure out why, but I was reading it going "This isn't working. Why isn't this working for me?". So, as much as I wanted to enjoy and want to read this, am holding fire on this. Maybe skipping this due to what I read.

THE CAT WHO TAILED A THIEF by Lilian Jackson Braun
(Goodreads Link)
Now, I have read a few books in the series in my past. I have, before I started this blog, read The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare and The Cat Who Talked Turkey and I have read (and reviewed) The Cat Who Saw Red. I do have another title in the series that I bought when the series went through a sale - The Cat Who Went Underground. But, the prices of all these ahem gone up to £3 barring this title and it intrigues me. Sadly, I didn't make it through the sampler. Not because it was bad, but because I didn't enjoy it in the way I hoped I would. I feel that the bit I read felt a bit stiff in language. Maybe it's because I want something to grab me by the throat recently (am going through a fantasy slump at time of writing this) and this is more Sunday afternoon cosy crime. It doesn't appeal to my mood now, though I know I will be reading The Cat Who Went Underground by the end of the year...

GROOSHAM GRANGE by Anthony Horowitz
(Goodreads Link)
People at my new job (how long can I call my current job "new"? Six months?) know I have a blog (hence why I have some control over work's social media) and someone said "I read this years ago when I was younger and you might like it". It is Anthony Horowitz and I do enjoy reading the Alex Rider series (I read Never Say Die last year and I am quite excited to see what he does with James Bond in Forever and A Day) so I knew I was going to like it. And I did, as something light and fluffy. It's not exactly for me (maybe if I was younger, I would hoover this up) but this is fun and can read within a day, but might try and return to Alex Rider and maybe try The Power of Five series...

LET'S TALK ABOUT LOVE by Claire Kann
(Goodreads Link)
I can't remember how I came across - Twitter, me thinks. But once I heard a few sentence from the blurb, I knew I was sold on this book. An asexual black teen trying to figure out life - sign me up! So, when I saw this on Amazon by fluke (it doesn't have a UK publisher, to my knowledge), I downloaded it and read while feeling super tired. I gobbled this sampler up in one sitting. I couldn't stop and when it ended, I was a little annoyed as I wanted more. I didn't want this to end. I am currently trying to find out who is publishing this in the UK as I WANT THIS BOOK ON MY SHELVES, DAMNIT!

THE GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE by Mackenzi Lee
(GoodReads Link)
This has bee getting a lot of love on the Book Blogosphere since it's release last year and I have been intrigued over this. When I finally read the sampler (this has been sitting on my iPhone Kindle app for quite a while). It didn't grabbed me like I hoped, not compared to Let's Talk About Love. But there is potential here. I can definitely sense this is something I will enjoy reading, but the start is a tad slow. But I think this might be a book I could love once I found my reading groove.

So, out of the five, which are the ones that call to me. Well, definitely Let's Talk About Love and I think, once I have my reading groove, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. But, with so many books on my TBR, not sure when am going to read them... or buy them for that matter.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Audiobook Review - The Book of Life

Just when you thought I wouldn't be finishing this trilogy before I go on my blog break in early April (I will be talking more about that later this month so hold your horses there), I did it! I FINISHED THIS TRILOGY!!!

Ok, quick history lesson time (again). I first audiobooked the first book in the All Souls trilogy back in 2011 and, while I did like A Discovery of Witches, I decided that I wasn't going to rush into audiobooking the rest of the trilogy, just because. Fast forward to last year and, because I was going through a bit of an audiobook binge, I decided to relisten to A Discovery of Witches and while I think I enjoyed it more the second time round, I wasn't going to rush into reading/audiobooking the rest of the trilogy. There was no rush, but I knew I wanted to. Jump forward a few months later and I bought (due to a hiccup with my Audible credit), both Shadow of Night and Book of Life. Last month, I blitz listening to Shadow of Night and went "Ok, I need a small break before I start Book of Life." ... I didn't even last 24 hours!

So here we are with the third and final book in the All Souls trilogy. Now, seeing as this is the final book in the trilogy, there is a lot of spoilers so sorry if I let something slip. But after the events of Shadow of Night, witch Diana and vampire Matthew time travel back to the present from Elizabethan London, to be reunited with family, friends and loved-ones - barring one heartbreaking exception. But before either can given, they have to deal with crises old and new, the two must from the missing pages of Ashmole 782 and the book itself. But with enemies coming at them from all sides - via politics and revenge - can Diana and Matthew's forbidden love for each other survive...?

I have to admit this that, while I do have problems with this series, I had a really good time getting sucked into the story and this audiobook was no exception. It has the same things I like about it that I do with the Queen of the Tearling trilogy. It was deep, rich with detail, complex and a joy to listen to. I liked returning to these characters and them trying to figure out what they were going to do and how. There's something about this series I thoroughly enjoy.

I was surprised how much I like how the story was broken down. Most of the time, Diana was telling the story but, every now and then, we had a break and the story was told in third people, following Matthew for one reason or another. It made sense to do this and this is something Deborah did in Shadow of Night. 

I did listen the reader of all three audiobooks in the series - Jennifer Ikeda - though the one time my Other Half heard it, he did go "What the hell is that?!". But I think because she had stayed within the whole trilogy, I was used to her and liked how she read it.

I do have problems - don't I always? It seems to come under one thing which is something I have mentioned in every write-up I've written for this trilogy and that is detail. These books are quite long and there's a lot of detail. At times, it can be too much and I wonder on if some details were removed, would it effect the story that much?

Another thing I was a bit "Oh" over. And that was Benjamin. I know he appeared, very very briefly, in Shadow of Night, but it was a blink and you missed it. So when it's revealed how involved he is within the whole trilogy, it's a bit of a bolt from the blue and I wished there was more clues to hint at his importance.

So, with the TV series coming to Sky One coming out at the end of the year and the companion novel - Time's Convert - following Matthew's son, Marcus, and his human fiancee, Phoebe, it's going to be interesting to see what happens next. Am pretty certain I am going to be reading Time's Convert and I kinda hope Deborah does write more companion novels on other characters within this world (I would love there be the novels about Galloglass, Ysabeau and Phillipe, and Fernando).

While this trilogy isn't exactly perfect, I had a great time listening to the three audiobooks and and am intrigued to see what Deborah Harkness does next...